12 Months | 12 Festivals: A Live Music Calendar
Richard Osborn - January 13, 2020

12 Months | 12 Festivals: A Live Music Calendar

In Sprawling City Parks, Along Sand-Swept Shorelines, In Standing-Room-Only Basement Haunts — Music Festivals Come in All Shapes and Sizes These Days. Lucky for Us, They Happen All Year Long.
Outside Lands.

Woodstock, Monterey Pop, Isle of Wight, Newport — it used to be that music festivals only happened in the summertime, a brief June-July-August window that promoters deemed best suited for multi-band, weather-friendly gatherings. But the festival business is no longer a one-season venture. It’s a year-round affair. Live by StubHub presents the ultimate live music agenda — one festival for each month on the 2020 calendar.          

JANUARY

Tomorrow Never Knows | Chicago | Jan. 15-19, 2020

Polar Vortex? Snowmageddon? Snowpocalypse? Snowzilla? Mother Nature has some sense of humor. Despite all she throws at Chicago come wintertime, the city remains one of the warmest destinations in the US — at least when it comes to the music scene. The Windy City boasts some of the country’s best live music venues, including Lincoln Hall, Schubas Tavern, The Hideout and Sleeping Village, all of which will play host to TNK Fest this year. The five-day celebration of music and comedy, founded in 2005 as a vehicle to showcase both local artists/performers and those with an international following, will feature the likes of DJ/producer Taylor McFerrin (the son of Bobby McFerrin) and Ohio rockers The Ophelias in 2020.

FEBRUARY

Noise Pop Music & Arts Festival | Bay Area | Feb. 24-March 1, 2020

San Francisco has long been a hub for the eclectic, the offbeat. Noise Pop has been celebrating this since 1993, when five bands first gathered for a one-night blowout at The Kennel Club. The independent-minded festival has since grown into a weeklong extravaganza that brings more than 160 bands to a host of concert halls across the Bay Area. Complemented by art shows, talks and happy hours, the 2020 edition will spotlight a wide range of acts, including The Stone Foxes, Imperial Teen and Duster, at The Independent, The Fillmore, Great American Music Hall, Swedish American Hall, Café Du Nord, The New Parish, Brick & Mortar Music Hall, Starline Social Club, Bottom of the Hill, and more.

MARCH

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo | NRG Park, Houston | March 3-22, 2020

Rodeo ring doubles as concert-stage in Houston, where, for nearly 90 years, cowboys, crooners and carnival rides have attracted thrill-seekers from far and wide. The annual 20-day Houston Rodeo, which drew more than 2.5 million ticketholders to NRG Park in 2019, features everything from world-class championship rodeo action to concerts, livestock competitions, BBQs, wine tastings, parades, even pig races. On the live music lineup for 2020 are: Chris Stapleton, NCT 127, Gwen Stefani, Luke Bryan, Khalid, Brad Paisley, Willie Nelson, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, and more.

APRIL

Coachella | Empire Polo Club, Indio, Calif. | April 10-12, 17-19, 2020

The Southern California desert is in full bloom over back-to-back weekends each spring when the biggest names in the music biz take the stage in Indio. Nu metal pioneer Rage Against the Machine made headlines when the group announced it would reunite at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for the first time in eight years. Joining the LA foursome on the 2020 lineup will be: Thom Yorke, Caribou, Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, Flume, Travis Scott, Noname, Brockhampton, and more. Break out your festival wear.

MAY

Hangout Fest | Gulf Shores, Ala. | May 15-17, 2020

As if the subtropical climate, picturesque shoreline and beachside carnival weren’t incentive enough, Hangout Fest is poised to showcase its best lineup yet. Joining the fun in 2020 are: Billie Eilish, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cage the Elephant, Post Malone, Doja Cat, Lana Del Rey, Omar Apollo, SNBRN, T-Pain, RL Grime, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and many more.

JUNE

Virgin Fest | Exposition Park, Los Angeles | June 6-7, 2020

Sustainability and inclusivity were the buzzwords as Sir Richard Branson announced the launch of Virgin Fest, which in its inaugural summer will settle into LA’s Exposition Park and the 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium. Details remain hush-hush, but the British business magnate is promising to be the anti-Fyre Festival, where all are welcome, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, religious or political affiliation, etc.

JULY

Lollapalooza | Grant Park, Chicago | July 30-Aug. 2, 2020

Last year, it was Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, The Strokes and J Balvin who lured more than 400,000 revelers to Grant Park for four days of music mayhem. Founded by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell in ’91, Lolla has become a summertime rite for tried-and-true festival-goers, who trek to the Second City from both coasts and beyond to experience live music at its very best.    

AUGUST

Outside Lands | Golden Gate Park, San Francisco | Aug. 7-9, 2020

No festival has made bigger strides in such a short stretch. Founded in 2008, this Golden Gate Park love-in now rivals its higher-profile SoCal counterpart, Coachella, when it comes to staging big-name headliners. In 2019, Outside Lands brought Childish Gambino, Anderson .Paak, Paul Simon, Twenty One Pilots, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Wayne, Leon Bridges, Kygo and more to the 415.   

SEPTEMBER

Made in America Festival | Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia | Sept. 5-6, 2020

Jay-Z’s brainchild remains a Labor Day Weekend delight in the City of Brotherly Love, bringing together a full spectrum of genres, from hip-hop and R&B to indie rock and EDM. Travis Scott, Cardi B, James Blake, Anderson .Paak, Jorja Smith, Kaytranada and the late Juice Wrld were among the performers in 2019. There’s a whole lot more to Philly than cheesesteaks and the Rocky Steps.

Austin City Limits Music Festival.

OCTOBER

Austin City Limits Music Festival | Zilker Park, Austin, Texas | Oct. 2-4, 9-11, 2020

Inspired by the long-running PBS series Austin City Limits, the ACL Music Fest occurs over consecutive three-day weekends in the 350-acre Zilker Park. Eight stages host more than 125 performances in this cityside haven. This is where hip-hopper Donald Glover chose to retire his alter ego, the beloved Childish Gambino, with what one reviewer called an “otherworldly, religious, life-changing” 2019 performance.

NOVEMBER

Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival | Los Angeles | Nov. 7-8, 2020

Flog Gnaw, a word scramble for Tyler, the Creator’s skate-preppy clothing line, Golf Wang, and an anagram of Wolf Gang, was viewed by some as a one-off upon its founding in 2012. Fast forward to 2020 and it has become one of the most unique and in-demand gatherings on the festival circuit, still going strong and still attracting an eclectic lineup of hip-hop, rap and R&B acts (think Earl Sweatshirt, ASAP Rocky, Thundercat, Brockhampton, FKA Twigs, etc.). Complete with Ferris Wheel and oversized shoe sculptures, the event has been held in the Dodger Stadium parking lot the last two years.     

DECEMBER

SnowGlobe Music Festival | South Lake Tahoe, Calif. | TBA

Lake Tahoe provides a dramatic, wintry backdrop for this three-day festival leading up to New Year’s Eve. Ski Heavenly Mountain Resort by day, hit the snow-covered dancefloor by night. More than 40 hip-hop and EDM-focused artists performed across three stages in 2019, including Vince Staples, Skrillex, Doja Cat and SNBRN. MTV swooped in to buy the event in 2018, opening the door for more SnowGlobes around the world.